Reliance Jio may not be done with planning surprises for the telecom industry as reports suggest that it might soon launch a low-cost 4G voice over LTE (VoLTE) feature phone along with its free calls service at a price of under Rs 1,500.
Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio took the market by storm as it launched its free calls and free 4GB data offer in September. The offer was extended by another three months recently till march allowing free calls and data.
Industry experts and analysts claim that if Jio launches such low-priced handsets, then many customers will buy them giving filip to Jio to expand its customer base divide between other operators in the country. The company is expected to launch two phones mostly at price points of Rs 999 and Rs 1,500. This can only be reminiscent of the phones that was launched by Reliance when it launched its first telecom service in 2001.
About 65% of India’s more than 1 billion mobile phone subscribers still use feature phones. Affordability – the cheapest 4G smartphones cost about Rs 3,000 – and lack of scope for other uses have deterred the faster adoption of smartphones.
Also, Jio’s VoLTE feature phones are likely to have front-facing and rear cameras, and may come bundled with apps such as Jio Chat, Live TV and video-on-demand. The company may also push its digital wallet service, Jio Money Wallet, according to sources.
Sources also said that the capability to make VoLTE calls in these feature phones will be enabled by chipsets, which Jio plans to source from Chinese company Spreadtrum. It is also expectedly in talks with Qualcomm and Mediatek.